Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Set Apart

In the early years of my childhood, I constantly felt drawn towards God, even though I was never to my knowledge, taught about Him or about the work of Jesus on the Cross.  I was, however, often in places where I could sense His Presence. 

For several years I was at times allowed to sit in the organ loft with my father, who was the Organist and Director of Music at Ely Cathedral. When he played, I was always inexplicably moved by the solemnity and beauty of the music that was produced by the choristers singing below with their angelic voices in harmony, in the massive building with its incredible acoustics, with the varying tones emanating from the organ, so grandly handled by my father. There was no mirth or laughter, but everything proceeded in its proper place and order.  There was a graciousness involved, and I suppose it was the combination of the special sound and the devout offering to God that caught my spirit.

Often on those occasions I was privy to meeting "people of the cloth" at meal-times, when there would be lively discussion, presumably around the Anglican calendar, and of course, God was mentioned many times.  No-one preached to me or tried to "save me", and being very young at the time, I don't in fact remember any details of the discussions.  Religion seemed to have a lot of importance in life, and I somehow knew that the Holy Bible contained mysteries that would open up something of enormous significance to me one day, when I might begin to understand its quaint King James version of our language.

One of my favourite past times was to take our Samoyed dog for walks, and I would spend time sitting at the edge of a barley field, simply asking Jesus to show me that He was real.  I would confess my sins (which took some time on some days), then tell him of all the things that were hurtful to me; my loneliness; being bullied at school; my daddy hardly ever being there for me because of his duties at Ely whilst our home was in Suffolk; often feeling forsaken and overlooked; competing with my cousins, who lived with us, and forever getting into trouble for "misleading" them - so many thing I didn't understand about my life, or why I didn't have a mother of my own, or why I lived with a grandmother who was so very old fashioned...

As I have told elsewhere in this Blog in The Beckoning , the day came when Jesus did reveal Himself to me.  I also stumbled upon a huge Bible with full-plate pictures and thumb index, ready to be disposed off with the rest of that week's rubbish.  I still couldn't understand its language, but I was compelled to keep it open on the dresser in my bedroom, sensing there was a lot about Jesus in there.

The next part of my life took on an even more turbulent nuance, as I was bundled off to a boarding school since my grandmother had now died.  I was desperately unhappy, still bullied, still disliked, and one of those kids who never got chosen for a team but was reluctantly accepted as the default loser.  The school was near the sea in Essex, and every weekend we went for long walks along the promenades.  This too, was an ordeal for me to face, because everyone was paired up - except myself.  I lived a lot of that time in an imaginary world, but Jesus was my Saviour!  He partnered me on those walks and I would talk to Him.  I would "see" Him walking on the sea water on some of the misty mornings, keeping me company, always watching over me.  I would go to the dormitory window after lights-out and "see" Him wandering through the fields, bringing peace and harmony with Him.  He would be right there next to me too.  I felt His Presence.  I began to learn the Scriptures and marvelled at the fact that the school I was attending allowed me to study the Bible in more depth, simply because I wanted to.  My head teacher was a Christian Scientist, but she never imposed those doctrines on me, other than to teach the reality of Jesus, and this again, I see as a definite provision made for me by God.  She set a room aside for myself and two other girls to go into so that we could study the Bible together.  And a wonderful provision also made for me was that she allowed me, the only pupil in the school with this privilege, to play her personal grand piano, because of my ability to play it well and sensitively.

There are many, many stories I could go on to tell of those years in my life, but I now want to fast-forward to just a couple of days ago.

I was at a special worship and testimony evening, and our time of worship was simply beautiful.  The words we sang were potent and true.  Suddenly I was aware of Jesus again, just as I had "seen" Him during my time at the boarding school.  He was holding His hands out towards me, beckoning me for a hug, just as He did back then.  He was telling me something important: 

Here is what I felt He said to me, "I am still here.  I have never changed.  I have never let you go and never will.  I know you have been troubled by many different doctrines and different points of view put across over the years, and that you have felt perplexed and torn, because not all teaching has been in line with Scripture, whilst other teachings have opened up new possibilities, and you've wondered if this is okay.  Know this:  I am the same yesterday and today and forever*.  I have never changed.  Focus on Me - that's what is important.  Don't focus on teachings that might be right or wrong, keep your heart soft and open.  Don't focus on healings and miracles and wonder if they are genuine.  Focus on Me.  Desire only to see Me, and I will always guide your footsteps. I set you apart all those years ago, so be encouraged, for my Presence is always with you even though you walk through troubled times and sometimes feel that your understanding is dimmed.  I love you, and I know that you love Me."

And I do indeed love my Lord, my Saviour who saved me by His wonderful grace!  I praise and honour Him!

*Hebrews 13:8

Saturday, 22 November 2014

I will bless those who bless you

(Click on image for larger size.)

The Call of Abram

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.” 
(Courtesy of Bible Gateway)

This great event is the origin of everything that lies behind the troubles in the Middle East, and affects us globally today.

The great Nation God referred to later became clear as being Israel.  However, he finishes this instruction by saying that "all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you" - and as we know, Abraham's eventual offspring was the Messiah Himself, Jeshua. It is through Him that we are blessed.  But it is also because of Him that, if we deny Him, declare that He is not the Son of God, leave Him out of the One Triune God, we are setting ourselves up for being cursed.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Missing Ingredient?

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 
1 John 4:8

What Happened?

The subject of God's love in our world, and in particular within our church families, has become an increasing burden on my heart recently. 

In the world, I would expect to find a significant lack of love, because its kind of love is not the same as God's love, and is often misunderstood even in its own worldly context, because there is a huge hunger for love, and people seek it in so many inferior ways, even to the point that abusive sexual relationships can be misinterpreted by a victim who knows no other form of love, as being the best they can find, even real love.

I'm not about to expound on the lack of love in the world for the purpose of this article, however, although in fact there are people of the world, who have no faith in God, who express some of the best worldly love one could ever hope to find, because they just love to love people, and have so much love to give.  Sadly, these are the exception rather than the rule, and equally sadly they often have no clue that this is a Godly gift they possess.

What I want to talk about here is a significant "missing ingredient" within some of the Christian churches of today. We talk about being Family.  We talk about the things we need to do to help one another, to esteem one another and build one another up as if they were our own kin.  And we talk about these things directly in the light of God's Agape love, which is totally unconditional and relentlessly constant in spite of our own shortcomings.

I have been in situations where the anomaly between what we are taught and what is expected of us, compared to that which actually happens is far too great to ignore. 

Let me tell you something important:

  • You have the power to make or break another.
  • You have the power to change the way a person feels for the rest of the day, and even for the rest of their life.
  • You have the power to make someone feel happy, or feel desperate.
  • You have the power to change someone's circumstances for the better or for the worst.
  • You have the power to build up or to smash down.
  • You have the power to create something good or you can simply destroy..


By any of the following:
  • your attitude,
  • your body language,
  • the way you look at someone,
  • whether or not you greet another when you see them,
  • whether you look them in the eye or just avert your gaze,
  • whether of not you make the other person feel that they matter,
  • whether you include another person in your conversation when your best friend is with you..

Do you communicate?

Or do you just let someone find out, often too late, that they are or aren't supposed to be joining you in an activity? 

When you don't have the news to tell another that you know they would like to hear, do you just ignore them and hope it "will go away", or do you communicate, with regret, the decision that has been made - at least so that they know that you cared enough to tell them?

Think about it!  Is this how you yourself would like to be treated?  Or maybe this is indeed the way you are used to being treated and so it doesn't occur to you that it would be of any consequence to someone else? - But think again... Should this remain the status quo?  Can you perhaps start to change that?  Remember, you have this horrendously awesome power...

But as Christians, born again of the Spirit of God, we have a greater power still - we have God's power within us!  We are His ambassadors in a fallen world!  As born again Christians, we are In Christ Jesus, meaning that we are "in Him" and He is "in us".  

Let's look at the attributes of love, and for this passage, try putting God's Name in the place of Love, then try putting your own name in place of Love and see how you measure up...


Love is patient,
Love is kind. 
Love does not envy,
Love does not boast, 
Love is not proud. 
Love does not dishonor others, 
Love is not self-seeking, 
Love is not easily angered, 
Love keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
Love always protects, 
Love always trusts, 
Love always hopes, 
Love always perseveres.
Love never fails. 

(Taken from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)

Verse 13 tells us "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Let us strive not to be clanging symbols in the things we say or do, but instead, let us build one another up in God's amazing love. 

NOTE:  I am equally to blame for many of the things I've cited above, because worldly love in my own life has also been imperfect and I have been damaged by circumstances of life.  I know God forgives every one of us for our shortcomings, because His love is too great to prevent Him from doing so.  I hope those whom I have undoubtedly hurt in my life's journey can also find it in their hearts to forgive me. I have been blessed to know first-hand the very depth of God's love, just for fleeting moments.  I pray this will become more and more of a daily reality and thus something I can also share with others.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Only Things That Are Eternal Shall Remain

What do the Last Days really mean?

There are warnings about the Last Days and what to expect.  We know that the things that are seen are only temporary, whilst the things that are unseen are eternal - (talking of Spiritual things or things that our mortal eyes cannot perceive):

'Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.' (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

In the following verses, 'Land' can refer to literal land, or it can refer to us:

'Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.  But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.' (Hebrews 6:7-8 NIV)

One thing I like to bear in mind is that the Last Days may be the Biblical Last Days - the Day of the Lord's Return -  or it could be that our own Last Day may come at any time before then, for we don't know when our personal hour to pass from this life will actually come.  The question is always this, "Are we ready"? And are we watching out for the signs of the Lord's return?  In Matthew 24:42-44 we are told that He will come "like a thief in the night".  We are also told that no-one knows the day or the hour of his return, only God has this knowledge.  Unfortunately too, there have already been many false predictions that the "end is nigh" and so it's all too easy to decide that any prophecies in this respect today will end up the same way.  However, even that is foretold in the Scriptures!

I believe this important chapter below gives us good insight as to why so many people might not be ready, but if we are to be ready, what sort of people we need to be:

The Day of the Lord 

'Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Saviour through your apostles.
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.' (2 Peter Chapter 3 NIV)

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Duckling and the Squirrel - A Prophetic Dream?


The Dream

I had a dream last night (17th October 2014), in which a little duckling came waddling over to me, squawking a pitiful message to me, a lament about the loss of her home.  I felt terribly sorry for this little mite and picked her up and cuddled her to me until she was eventually soothed by the warmth and security of my arm and hands.

But I knew she wanted to tell me something important, so I gently set her down in front of me, and followed her as she led me to a large tree (possibly an Oak).  She climbed up to where there was a hollow, in which there was an open cardboard box containing a cosy place for shelter, resembling a padded pet basket.  The duckling got right inside it and peered out.  Just then came along a squirrel, and the pair of them kicked up a terrible fuss as the squirrel made it very clear that this was his home, and no longer belonged to the duckling, which he proceeded to force out.

The duckling cried out to me for help, and I realised she had been evicted from the home which was rightfully hers.  I picked her up once again and soothed her, telling her I would try and solve the problem.  She calmed down and relaxed once more into my arms.

I soon found myself in a room, rather like a church hall, where some people were selling cardboard boxes containing little shelters, exactly like the one I had just seen in the tree.  There was also a Bible with each box.  I asked how much these packages were and was told £10.  I paid the money and took the box to the tree, placing it securely in the hollow next to the box with the squirrel in it.  The duckling was thrilled, and quickly climbed into it knowing this was her new home.  I watched, and was reassured that the two would live happily side by side for a period of time.  I knew it wouldn’t work long-term, but for now this was a good enough solution.


A Possible Interpretation

It came to me on waking that this was a prophetic picture of events in the Middle East, and the two boxes represented two States, the duckling and the squirrel representing two peoples, and the Bible represented how this dream fits in with the Word of God. The cost of £10 represents the fact that there is always a cost when helping someone else, but we need to always remember that Jesus paid the ultimate price for us all. 

The one State was in occupation of the land that was deemed to rightfully belong to the other, but in order to resolve the dispute, the second State would be created in order that they could live peacefully side by side.  This is symbolic of Israel and Palestine and I believe, of the signing of what may well turn out to be the 7 Year Peace Treaty spoken of in the Bible.  After 3 ½ years, this “peaceful” arrangement would break down.  With the signing, is ushered in the 7 years of Tribulation leading to the Battle of Armageddon and ultimately the Millennium reign of the Messiah.